BLUE RIDGE GROTTO of the NSS
Jersey Lily’s Roadhouse Meeting Room
August 17, 2018
Bob Gulden – Chair Susan Burr – Vice Chair Mary Sue Socky – Secretary
Dusty Gulden Trish Geiger Lynn Ott
Nicole Gulden Karen Kastning *Nick Schmalenberger
*Odin Gulden *Lauren Appel (*guest)
Meeting began at 6:42p. Chair Bob Gulden officiating.
6/30: Mary Sue Socky, Meredith Hall Weberg, Janet Tinkham, and various members of the VA Cave Board and VA DEQ toured The Caverns at Natural Bridge, VA, before the VCB meeting. Meredith looked for amphipods in the upper pool. The guide allowed MSSocky to go off trail and retrieve an old can that had washed downstream to the lower pool. The Caverns has not been cleaned since caver efforts in 2015; treated/cleaned areas show some regrowth, but the untreated areas are Green with moss & lampenflora. Other than the mossy regrowth, the cave looks good. Charles Kahn’s steps are holding up well. Cave rats chewed through decorative/seasonal Christmas tree lights that were left in the cave; the rats have dragged sections of lights downhill beside the stairs. Several nearby lightning strikes this summer (2018) have taken a toll on the Cavern’s lighting system. Hopefully the wiring will finally be replaced.
June 2018: Nick Schmalenberger did lots of caving. He visited Cave Spring Cave, Lexington, VA. He also visited numerous caves in TAG. Some of these caves are unnamed. Others include Graham Cove Cave, AL, Valhalla, and WashPot Cave, AL.
7/24: Lewis and Clark Caverns, MT. Lynn Ott, Gene Harrison, Karen Kastning (at a later time), and lots of NSS Convention attendees visited this Montana Show Cave, app. One hour south of Helena MT. There is a long hike (1/2 mile?) to the cave entrance. Karen Kastning did not get very far due to the 500 stairs. Lynn reported it was a nice sporting cave with duckwalks. Photography was forbidden in the front part of the cave to protect endangered Long eared bats. Lynn shared some of her L&C Caverns photos during the grotto program.
7/28: Higginbotham Caves, Greenbrier Co. WV. Susan Burr, Doug Feller, Carl Cornett, Jeff Huffman, Lauren Appel, Mystick Miller, Damani Mitchell, “Dom” Dominika Dziadowicz. (This was Dom’s first wild cave trip!) Susan Burr reported that they had trouble finding the #4 entrance. They finally asked the owner for directions – oh, there it is, past the overgrown vernal pond and the tall weeds and grasses! They saw frogs and salamanders inside the entrance. Susan had forgotten about that long entrance cobble crawl. Everyone made it to the waterfall. The waterfall pool looked deep, and some people were tired, so they turned around and came out of #4. Carl Cornett sat out the next adventure, where they spent a while hiking everywhere looking for Higginbotham # 1 or # 3 entrance. Finally they had to ask the owner for directions again, and he led them to #1 (Historic) entrance. They did a thru-trip out entrance # 3, up the telephone pole!
· BRG trip to Perry Saltpeter Cave, VA, next weekend 8/26/2018. Meet at HROM @ 9a. Contact Susan Burr for info.
· OTR is Aug 30-Sept 3.
· Sept. 21-23 Fall VAR in nearby Blacksburg, VA, down by the New River!
(BRG meeting 8/17/2018) p2
Treasurer Dave Socky was absent.
Here is July 20, 2018 BRG Treasury Report - the numbers have not
$ 106.64 Cave Bucks
$ 160.64 Conservation Fund
$ 185.41 Equipment Fund
Newsletter – May 2017 DUMP cover won an NSS Cover Art Salon Honorable Mention! Newsletter resumes in September.
Membership – There may be a change soon.
ROCKS –No report.
Safety & Techniques --- No report.
Membership Proposals: Lauren Appel applied for BRG membership at the July BRG meeting. Her sponsor is Susan Burr. Marian McConnell seconded, Lauren’s proposal is now up for a vote. Unanimous! Lauren is BRG’s newest associate member.
· NO Sept. 21 BRG meeting – go to VAR!
· Karst Day, Sept. 18, 2018 @ Heritage HS, Lynchburg, VA. Will be an all-day event for the school science classes. Be at school 8a. to set up. Interested: Marian McConnell, Dave & Mary Sue Socky, Carl Cornett.
· Sept 9 (rain date Sept. 30): Paranormal Monitoring in CMH. Meet 10a at CMH. Vertically trained cavers needed to carry in, set up monitoring gear in cave (to top of Ski Slope) and remove it several hours later. Please contact Marian McConnell if you are interested in helping. So far, Carl Cornett, Dave Socky, Mary Sue Socky, and maybe Susan Burr and Doug Feller will help.
· Cave and Karst Trails – VA Cave board has had signs created, (one on display at meeting) will be placed at various Virginia show caves and karst areas, battlefields, etc. The info can be accessed at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/vacavetrail
Fall VAR pre registration is OPEN! Go to VAR next month! See https://fallvar2018.com/pre-registration/ for
the registration and payment links. For more info on the event, http://www.fallvar2018.com/event-information
· CaveSim says THANKS for BRG’s donation! It provided transport of the CaveSim trailer to Helena, MT. CaveSim was well attended by cavers, area summer camps and the public during this year’s NSS Convention. Dave Jackson has given us a “Thank You from CaveSim” L Tshirt, let’s auction it off at the Oct. 19 BRG meeting, and send the proceeds to CaveSim. Details will be in Sept. DUMP.
· NSS VERIFICATION OF CAVER DATA (postcard) Lynn Ott. If you are an NSS member, you have received one or more yellow postcards requesting you call a phone number to verify your info for a “Who’s Who”-type book for cavers. Lynn emphasizes “if you want to opt out of this, you MUST CALL THEM AND REQUEST YOU BE OMITTED from the book”. “They Already have your information. They want you to verify what they have, and help them fill in the blanks (they want to know your work phone, and marital status!) Lynn felt the company doing this ‘verification’ began asking personal questions and info – data mining? So she opted out. In addition, Lynn (and anyone else who has such an experience,) Please contact NSS Chair Geary Schindel and tell him of your experience with the company and the type of questions they asked, etc.
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· Carl Cornett NSS # 56641 is now an NSS Fellow.
· Gene Harrison has been elected NSS Vertical Section Chairman. The Vertical Section and the NCRC are working together to create an “NCRC Level O” classification for NCRC students who do not have vertical training. All potential NCRC caver/responders should have minimum vertical skills.
· Karen Kastning attended the memorial service for Jeanne Gurnee at the NSS Convention. Interesting Trivia: Jeanne appeared on “To Tell the Truth” in 1951. No one guessed she was a ‘spelunker’.
· BRG nominations will happen Oct. 19. All current officers have reached the end of their terms.
· Oct 20: VA Cave Board meeting, Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad Training Room B. 1p-3p.
· June 17-21, 2019: NSS Convention in Cookeville, TN.
Meeting ended at 7:25p, followed by
Program – Photos of Lewis & Clark Caverns, MT (show cave with 500 steps, plus a ½ mile hike to the entrance), followed by photos of Glacier NP and Yellowstone NP. Great photos, Thanks, Lynn Ott & Gene Harrison!
Susan Burr hopes to have her slide show on “Name That Cave Entrance” cooperating by next month.
Minutes by BRG Secretary,
Mary Sue Socky